The Feel Good Factor


Elaine and Francesca consider some of their favourite films.

Elaine: When Francesca and I discussed writing a piece on our favourite films, I’m sure you can believe me when I say it was impossible to pick just two.

I’ve thought about it long and hard before coming to the conclusion that my least favourite films tend to be ones where I have read the books. Films that come under that category are:

P.S. I Love You, written by Cecelia Ahern

My Sister’s Keeper, written by Jodi Picoult

Before I Go To Sleep, written by S. J. Watson

Obviously the list can go on and on but for me, the films were enjoyable but the books were great.

However, I do love a feel good film. The obvious ones relate to Christmas. Love Actually is up there, as indeed is Miracle on 34th Street, but I also love an old fashioned Doris Day movie.

It is difficult to pick just two but I’m going to give it a go.

DVDSliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. This film is up there because I like the idea that you get to where you are meant to be eventually, no matter how many bad decisions you make along the way.

Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams. He was such a talented person and a loss to our society. The film is about students being made to fit into what their family and society decides for them. I won’t give too much away just in case somebody decides to watch it. It comes highly recommended.


Mockingbird About a BoyFrancesca: I agree with Elaine that I’m not very fond of films made from books I’ve enjoyed: they are often a disappointment. One of the exceptions is To Kill A Mockingbird. The film makers did a good job and Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch to a tee. I’m also very fond of the The Lord of the Rings films. Even though there is much to make me hit my forehead with my palm (eg, soppy, feeble Frodo in the film as opposed to tortured, resolute Frodo in the book), there is much to love too. The first one, The Fellowship of the Ring, remains my favourite of the three, as with the books.

I love British films from the 1960s like Georgy Girl, Alfie, Whistle Down The Wind, Up The Junction, A Taste of Honey and Kes. It’s partly because they evoke the period of time when I was a child. They’re also dramas about ordinary people during an era of social change. The characterisation in them is fantastic and good characterisation is something I always strive for in my own novels (whether I succeed is another matter!).1960s films

I enjoyed The Mummy films (the first three anyway – the last one was ‘muh’). They were great fun and full of adventure. Complete escapism. Ditto the first three Star Wars films (that is, the original three, since they came in reverse order!).

Shelf of filmsOkay, that’s already more than two. Difficult to leave out so many but I must mention About a Boy. It has pathos and comedy and made me want to cry as well as laugh. Perhaps one day I’ll get round to reading the book!

Something else I have to agree with Elaine on: Miracle on 34th Street. It’s my favouriteMiracle 34 Street Christmas film of all time (I’m referring to the 1947 film, not the 1994 one – not sure about Elaine). ‘It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.’ Yes, ‘feel good factor’ indeed.


Nonna Blog: diary of a reluctant grandmother


Which films would you choose?

3 thoughts on “The Feel Good Factor

  1. I really can’t think of a favourite film, but I agree with you about ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Not only was Gregory Peck absolutely right for Attiicus, conveying, so accurately, his moral stature, but the little girl who played Scout, whose name escapes me, portrayed, so well, her complexity and intelligence. The film based on Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ was also beautifully done. The worst film adaptation ever was that of Margaret Atwood’s disturbing dystopian novel: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

  2. I am again late in joining the party. I am fond of a James Mason film, ‘Spring and Port Wine. It is dated, old-fashioned and the acting is blatant yet it is tender and truthful of its time. I’d like to see again an extraordinary Tom Cruise film ‘Magnolia’. The Quiet Man has a place in my heart as does A Taste of Honey.

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